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Crazy Costa Dorada

Spain’s Costa Dorada is an eclectic mix of rich history and modern absurdity. Literally meaning ‘Golden Coast’, the stretch of Mediterranean sand connecting Barcelona and Tarragona comprises 12 zones and almost as many slightly tacky yet undeniably thrilling theme parks that draw northern European visitors in their thousands.

Interspersing these contemporary blots on the sun-drenched horizon is the quaint fishing town Cirilus and the medieval monasteries of Santes Creus and Scala Dei. Head to the long, wide beaches of Ebro Delta to see bodies as beautiful as the golden sands they lie on. And if roller coasters aren’t your thing, check out one of the many vineyards for an experience just as intoxicating…

Costa Dorada’s Top 10

10. Aqua Leon Safari & Water Park They may have underestimated how many rubber rings and lockers are needed, but if you go on a quiet day you can actually get to go on the rides.

5. Aquopolis Aquatic Park The artificiality of this Mauritian Mediterranean-themed water park is actually rather beautiful.

9. Poblet Monastery Chances are you won’t see any actual monks, but they’re the ones to thank for restoring this destroyed monastery to its former glory.

4. Archaeology Museum of Tarragona It’s not just what’s on the inside that counts – the view from the top is amazing!

8. House of Illusion It seems silly that a city with such rich history should boast a magic show as one of its top attractions, but after seeing the illusions you’ll understand why.

3. Delta Natural Park Whether you want to sit for hours looking at birds and wildlife or go hurtling through bushes on a bicycle, this park is a welcome relief from the tourist bustle.

7. Llevant Beach On this strip of fine sand you can find restaurants, shops, loungers, volleyball courts and, if you’re lucky, a free water-dance show.

2. Universal Port Aventura If you happen to be under 1.4m (4ft 6in), wear the tallest shoes you can find – they’re strict on height restrictions when it comes Spain’s biggest, baddest rollercoasters.

6. Roman Villa of Centcelles The most important Christian monument in Roman Spain. The Old Testament mosaics aren’t in the best nick, but they have been there since the fourth century!

1. Tarragona Costa Dorada’s historic heart boasts a unique Roman and medieval monument collection and locals who are justifiably proud of its World Heritage status.

Costa Dorada History

  • Torre Vella – Constructed in 1530, this military tower’s main purpose was to protect inhabitants from mercenary attacks.
  • El Vendrell – This cosy little town has always been a melting pot of culture, music and art.
  • Tarrgona Cathedral – A beautiful, 12th-century gothic cathedral.
  • Pont de les Ferreres – This legendary aqueduct is said to have been built by the Ruler of the Underworld himself.
  • Monasteries of Poblet & Santes Creus – These historical Costa Dorada monasteries are a must-see for those with an interest in the local religions and traditions.

Costa Dorada Art & Culture

  • Museu del Port de Tarragona – With its main focus on the port of Tarragona, this museum highlights the changes that have taken place from ancient Roman times to today.
  • Sant Joan – Every June 23, the beach is transformed into a spectacular sight of pyromania and all-round excitement as locals celebrate the Night of John the Baptist.
  • Picasso Centre of Horta de Sant Joan – Feast your eyes on copies of Pablo Picasso’s 200 awe-inspiring paintings.
  • Roman Villa of Centcelles – This is the best place to view beautifully preserved ancient Roman mosaics.
  • La Castanyada – All Saints' Day and Halloween take Costa Dorada by storm on October 31.

Costa Dorada Shopping

  • Municipal Market in Cambril – No trip to Costa Dorada would be complete without a visit to this weekly street market.
  • Boutiques on La Rambla Nova – These Spanish boutiques are filled to the brim with sinfully ostentatious clothing and shoes.
  • Andorra – Pick one morning of your holiday, wake up early and take a bus to this duty-free paradise.
  • El Tomb de Reus – In the centre of Reus, you will find an abundance of coffee and clothing shops.
  • Gothic Quarter in Barcelona – Here you will find some amazing antique stores, art galleries and ephemera dens.

Gay & Lesbian Costa Dorada

  • Queenz Bar – For a taste of fun and fantastic music, this is the bar to go to.
  • Casablanca Cocktail Bar – This is the best place in Costa Dorada for a wicked cocktail.
  • Organic Dance Club – This is regarded as Sitges’ absolute best after-dark hangout.
  • Dark Sitges – New on the scene, this bar offers something a little more modern and racy.
  • El-Piano Bar – Small and cosy, this bar offers a comfortable sing-along atmosphere.

Costa Dorada Outdoor

  • Sama Park – Surrounded by lush orchards of fruit trees, this beautiful garden is worth a visit.
  • Salou Beach – Roughly 3.5km of uninterrupted coastline make this the perfect beach hangout in Costa Dorada.
  • Aqua Leon Safari & Water Park – This is the only park of its kind in Europe.
  • Universal PortAventura – As the second-largest theme park in Europe, this is a real treat for the whole family. 
  • Aquopolis Aquatic Park – In the hot summer months, this is the perfect place to cool down.

Costa Dorada Sport

  • Go hiking in the Ebro Delta wetland area.
  • Visit the Sant Carles de la Rapita sports harbour for some water sport fun.
  • Enjoy a horseback trail through the historic town of Hospitalet de L‘Infant.
  • Play a round of golf in Costa Dorada on the Panoramica course.
  • Go windsurfing in Cambrils.

Costa Dorada Events

Costa Dorada’s quaint little fishing-village-cum-gay-resort hosts one of the wildest parties in Spain when fancy dress, feathers, sequins and skin mark the Sitges Carnival each February.

Go a little bit country for the International Dixieland Festival of Tarragona in April.

The Festival of Reus in June is a vibrant celebration honouring of St Peter. It’s a true Catalan celebration, so expect things to get wild!

July’s Tarragona International Fireworks Displays Competition features 7,711kg of pyrotechnic products. Boom!

The whole town gets involved in September’s Santa Tecla. Enjoy food, singing, dancing, movies and sports, but maybe leave the human castle to the experts!

When To Go

  • Costa Dorada enjoys a temperate Mediterranean climate, with temperatures ranging between 7 and 26°C (45-79°F).
  • Summer can be wet, with up to 400mm of rain falling in just a few hours.
  • Costa Dorada has the mistral winds to thank for its mostly blue skies.

Getting Around

  • Good bus services connect the main towns and resorts
  • The train service is also reliable, connecting Salou, Tarragona, Sitges and Barcelona.
  • If you’re over 21 and want to explore further afield, renting a car is the best option.

General Information

The Costa Dorada, or "Golden Coast", of Catalonia, Spain, is probably the most apt description for this brilliant part of the country, which refers to a 200 km span of Mediterranean shoreline south of Barcelona.

A popular holiday retreat area for locals and tourists alike, the coast is replete with villages and resorts that make the most of their proximity to the sea. The Costa Dorada is far from just a pretty stretch of sand however. Rich in Catalan culture and history, both in evidence in towns from Tarragona to Sitges, the region is more than just a collection of pristine beaches and family-centric amusement parks.

Attractions
Salou

One of the most popular resort centers in Spain, the seaside town of Salou offers beautiful beaches, a quaint promenade and a colossal theme park in PortAventura.

Tarragona

With UNESCO World Heritage Sites, such as the Roman ruins of Tarraco, a fine museum of archaeology and ancient aqueducts, the town of Tarragona is a great juxtaposition from the sun and sand of nearby resorts.

Reus

The birthplace of Antoni Gaudí in 1852, the charismatic little town of Reus is inordinately laden with tourist eye candy. Eminently popular in the hot summer months, Reus is a fine producer of wine and spirits and contains several terrific museums and monuments.

Ebro Delta

As the most ample river in Spain, the Ebro plays a vital part in the country's geography. The wetland area of the Ebro Delta is second in size in the western Mediterranean. The important agricultural area of 320 km² contains a wealth of fauna and flora. Boat and bicycle tours of the Ebro Delta are available.

Sitges

About 35 km south of Barcelona, the town of Sitges draws scores of visitors to historic landmarks, beaches and lively nightclubs. Municipal leaders made a commitment to convert the town into a first class tourist destination decades ago. As a result, more than a third of the populace hails from outside of Spain.

Events
Carnival

Between the months of February and March, much of the Costa Dorada is in party mode. This is Carnival time after all and the period from Fat Thursday to Ash Wednesday is especially festive in towns like Tarragona and Sitges.

International Film Festival of Catalonia

The International Film Festival held in Sitges every October is one of the best in Europe. A primary showcase for genre films, the festival has been a staple on the Costa Dorada since 1967.

Tarraco Viva

The annual Tarraco Viva festival recreates the world of the Roman Empire for ten days in May in Tarragona.

International Fireworks Competition

Tarragona hosts one of the most important fireworks competitions in Europe the first week of July.

Climate

The Costa Dorada lives up to the name "Golden Coast" with ideal conditions for much of the year, quite typical of a temperate Mediterranean climate.

  • Winter (December to February) 5-15°C
  • Spring (March to May) 8-22°C
  • Summer (June to September) 17-29°C
  • Fall (October to November) 9-22°C


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Hotels in Costa Dorada

96 hotels in Costa Dorada

1 Dorada Palace Hotel Salou

4 stars
Not yet reviewed

Cami de les Pasquales, 6 Map

Welcome to Dorada Palace near the Llevant beach, the Golf Courses and PortAventura Theme Park. Dorada Palace is the ideal accommodation for families and couples wishing to enjoy the sun, the... More

2 Subur Hotel Sitges

3 stars
4.0 / 5 3 reviews

Passeig de la Ribera s/n Map

The Subur Hotel Sitges is a charming and friendly hotel that offers unsurpassed service and comfortable accommodation to make your stay a memorable one. GeneralGuests travelling on business... More

3 La Nina Hotel Sitges

4 stars
4.5 / 5 2 reviews

Passeig de la Ribera, 63-69 Map

La Nina Hotel Sitges assembles four buildings of the beginning of XXth Century, fully refurbished but keeping the original facades and its essence. This hotel is bonded with balance, peace and... More

4 Calipolis Hotel Sitges

4 stars
4.7 / 5 3 reviews

Avinguda Sofia, 2 Map

The Calipolis Hotel provides a delightful setting and all the services and facilities of a top-class hotel that will hopefully make your stay in Sitges one you will always remember. GeneralJust a... More

5 Augustus Hotel Cambrils

3 stars
3.3 / 5

Avenida Diputacion 190 Map

The combination of various facilities and the seafront location of Augustus Hotel Cambrils makes every guest stay a pleasant holiday. GeneralFor your leisure time, the Augustus Hotel offers... More

6 Medium Sitges Park Hotel

3 stars
4.8 / 5 4 reviews

Jesus, 16 Map

To be charmed and pampered with exceptional hospitality, the Medium Sitges Park Hotel, which offers the perfect blend of maximum comfort and impeccable service is just the place for you to stay. ... More

7 Melia Sitges

4 stars
4.3 / 5

Joan Salvat Papasseit 38 Map

The Melia Sitges Hotel property provides you all the modern facilities and conveniences that are needed for a wonderful and enjoyable vacation. LocationOverlooking the Aiguadolc Marina, the Melia... More

8 TRYP Port Cambrils Hotel

4 stars
4.0 / 5

Rambla Regueral, 11 Map

For a soothing and peaceful vacation, stay at the Tryp Port Cambrils Hotel, a hotel known for its quality services and high standard. GeneralGuests can make good use of the conference facilities... More

9 Hotel SB Express Tarragona

3 stars
4.0 / 5 2 reviews

PL. De Les Corts Catalanes 4 Map

A place in which to work and enjoy, Hotel SB Express Tarragona is designed for comfort and relaxation, equipped with every imaginable detail. GeneralThe hotel's multi functional room, which holds... More

10 PortAventura Hotel

4 stars
4.5 / 5

Avenida Alcalde Pere Molas, s/n Map

Adventurous travellers looking for a fun-filled holiday in the heart of Costa Daurada find suitable retreat at PortAventura Hotel Tarragona. The Mediterranean coastal town-themed hotel gives... More